When the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art was released in 2013, it stirred up the photography world. It became the first full-frame prime lens that was a part of Sigma’s Global Vision Art series. The lens itself gave its competitors a run for their money mainly for its price point but also its quality.
After remodeling the lens, it has received a few upgrades like a dramatic increase in resolution and image sensors. Since the release of this lens, there have been other companies trying to outshine it. There are a few lenses that have become a tough competitor to the Sigma 35mm but there are still some features that make this lens unique.
The 35mm Art measures at 3.7 by 3 inches while weighing 1.5 pounds. It can support 67mm front filters. A reversible lens hood also comes along with the purchase. In regards to its build, it is different in comparison to past models. Instead of a plastic exterior, it is a mixture of metal and polycarbonate with a black coating. This makes the lens feel solid in the hands but not as heavy and bulky as other 35mm lenses.
One thing you must be careful with is the fact that the lens is not sealed with a rubber gasket for weather sealing. The lens is not flimsy but you still want to be cautious with dust between it and the camera mount.
Sigma created the 35mm Art to fit various SLR systems which include Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA, Sony A, and Pentax K. Mirrorless versions are also available for Leica. Sigma, Panasonic L-mount, and Sony E-mount cameras. Also, you can pair it with a full-frame or APS-C camera body. Lucky enough, if you swap systems, you can send the lens to Sigma to have it adjusted to the mount you decide to work with. But you will be charged a fee.
One of the strong features of the 35mm Art lens is the sharpness it is able to produce in each photo. It is safe to say that it is one of the sharpest 35mm lenses on the market. The mid to corner frame sharpness does not lag and even at its largest aperture, it is able to maintain the sharpness.
The wide aperture of the lens makes it exciting to shoot with as more light is able to come in, which allows users to shoot better in dim environments. It also allows more depth and blur in images and make viewers focus on the subject.
Although, the bokeh the lens executes can be a setback. When looking at the highlights of a photo, the lens tends to create onion-shaped bokeh which is also seen in other Sigma lenses. This might be a complaint but of course, it all depends on preference. And by onion-shaped bokeh, it means that one might notice circular lines similar to an onion. It does not have the common rings effect that Nikon and Zeiss lenses have. That is why, as mentioned, it might not bother the user as it depends on their preference on how they want the highlights to look.
As for vignetting, this is expected with prime lenses especially when shooting wide and on a full-frame body. The 35mm Art lens falls under this expectation and can be seen when the aperture is stopped beyond f/2. This lens has more vignetting than the Nikon 35mm and the Samyang 35mm.
But even if it vignettes quite easily, the lens controls flares and ghosting well. And when it comes to distortion, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 takes the crown with handling it best. There is very little barrel distortion in comparison to its competitors.
You can bring the lens as close as 11.8 inches to a subject which will magnify it at 1:5 life-size. This is the standard for the majority of 35mm f/1.4 lenses but if you want a macro performance, you should opt for the Tamron SP 35mm.
How Do They Compare?
|Sigma 35mm f/1.4||Nikon 35mm f/1.4|
|Price point starts around $700||Price point starts around $1,000|
|Works with Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E, Sony A, and Pentax K mount||Works with Nikon F mount|
|Shoots at a wide angle, telephoto, and fisheye||Shoots at a wide angle|
Sigma is not the only third-party company that has stepped into the photography world. Tamron that also has an affordable 35mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8. But for most SLR users, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens has been a hit amongst many. It captures a clear and crisp image at every f-stop, can keep its image quality in low light environments, and capture great shallow depth of fields. All of this with a lower price tag than major camera companies like Canon and Nikon. If you are looking for something that will give you high resolution when shooting at a wide aperture, then the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is definitely for you.
|Sells at an affordable price||Does not have image stabilization|
|Suitable for different camera systems – Nikon, Canon, Sony||Does not work best for ultra high-resolution cameras|
|Mount conversion is allowed||Has quite a heavy vignette effect|
|Captures details with sharpness and has a wide aperture|